Why are gamblers so superstitious?

The definition of superstition is that it is a belief or idea, not based on reason or knowledge, but in or of the ominous meaning of a particular thing, circumstance, event, procedure or the like.

Everyone has superstitious beliefs, such as not walking under a ladder, not being allowed to cross a black cat, or making a wish when the clock reads 11:11. Gamblers are also hugely superstitious in a lot of cases.

Gambling and superstition

Gambling is of course a hobby of luck and chance. There is much superstition within the gambling community. Each player may have his or her own beliefs, but there are also some general beliefs that are present among many players.

€50 bills give bad luck

Many gamblers will not accept their payouts in €50 bills. This superstition has mafia ties. In the heyday of the American Mafia, when a Mafia member murdered someone, a 50 bill was left in the victim’s pocket when the body was buried. Another superstition is wearing red while gambling.

This superstition is linked to Asian cultures, particularly Chinese culture. The Chinese believe that red represents wealth and good fortune. If you look closely, many casinos will have red in their decor. Many gamblers will wear red shirts or even red socks when gambling in a casino.
The original entrance to MGM
The original entrance to MGM

Don’t use the main entrance

Many gamblers believe that using a side entrance increases the chances of winning. When the MGM Grand opened in 1996, the main entrance to the casino was a large lion. This was a worthless symbol to many visitors. Not only were they wary of using the main entrance, entering through the mouth of the beast was even more unlucky for some Chinese gamblers.

The MGM eventually changed the entrance to more traditional doors. They replaced the original lion with a 100,000 pound bronze statue and placed the lion above the entrance.

Don’t count your money at the table

In the wise words of Kenny Rogers, “You never count your money when you’re sitting at the table.” This is something gamblers actually believe. They think that it is bad luck to count your money while you are still sitting at the table. In fact, it is so extreme with this belief that even online casinos advise players not to count the money at the table.

Furthermore, many gamblers also do not sit down at the table with their legs crossed. This is a superstition that has been around for quite a while. This probably came about because in the past women were discouraged from gambling. When it comes to poker tournaments, still only a small minority are women. According to etiquette, women cross their legs and that brought bad luck.

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Unlucky numbers and colors

The number 13 has had the name of unlucky number for as long as anyone can remember. In some cultures, this number even represents death. This superstition goes deeper than gambling. There are also many hotels that do not have a 13th floor or room 13. It is a deeply held belief that this is an unlucky number and is therefore shunned.

Many gamblers believe that black is an unlucky color. It is the color equivalent of the number 13. This superstition is unfortunate for roulette and card players because black is an important color. Roulette has only two color choices, red and black. So this already cuts your chances in half.

Do not whistle or sing at the table

Whistling or singing at the table is said to anger the gambling gods. To be perfectly honest, it’s also just plain annoying. All players are at this table for the same purpose and that is to win money. Winning money while gambling requires concentration.

If someone at the table is singing or whistling, it is distracting. In addition to possibly angering the gambling gods by whistling or singing during a game of Texas hold’em, you are probably irritating your tablemates. These aforementioned beliefs are not present in all gamblers, yet they are the most common superstitions.

Skills and opportunity

It may well be that 1 of these beliefs can help a player, but gambling obviously involves certain skills and chance is also a determining factor. People like to believe that they are in control. By believing in these superstitious practices, you may be able to convince yourself that you have an advantage. It’s simple to explain, people are just weird.

We are the only species that will not step on a crack in the sidewalk in case it could mean bad luck. Perhaps it is our highly developed brains that give us the ability to convince ourselves if we do this one thing, this other thing will not happen.


Besides the fact that we really enjoy whipping ourselves up into a frenzy of our own making, superstitious beliefs seem to be related to when we were new to this world. Humans have always done what they had to do to survive. When we first came here, there were many things and animals that could kill us.

Just because we have such an advanced problem-solving brain, humans were able to make choices that saved lives. With red as a lucky color, it’s also simple to explain. Somewhere in Chinese culture, it once gave someone an edge over someone else. Luck continues, and they wear red when they need luck. Now red is a universal sign of luck.


When it comes to gambling, you always look for the easiest way to increase luck. Skill will only get you so far. Then that mysterious thing you think helped you win that one time must be lucky. Gamblers are a superstitious crowd and for good reason. There are lots of other beliefs that people think bring them luck or bad luck. In many cases, it also brings a bit of security and self-confidence and believing in it can be enough to make it work as well.